Bear Week

Jul 29, 2011 Leave a Comment

Now that we're finally getting some rain, the Sandias were open last weekend so we decided to take full advantage of some hiking in the mountains.  We ended up going on an easy trail because I'm lazy from always hiking during the week.  It's really pretty, though.  It's a nature walk type thing in Cienega Canyon.  Cienega means "wet meadow," or so the sign said.

I like this picture because it's pretty and you can't tell how bad I look because I'm all shadowy

We had a nice time just hanging out and finally it was time to go, so we decided to loop back around the other side of the trail to go back.  While we were walking, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something moving in the trees above us.  Upon closer inspection, I realized what it was...

"Oh my gosh, it's a bear!"  I said.

Matt didn't believe me at first, but I pointed it out to him, and there was no doubt about it.  That bear was staring right at us.  We started walking away slowly, still looking at him, but he didn't really seem to care.  He just made his way down the hill and into the meadow.  I was so surprised, I didn't think to take a picture right away.  So all I got was his butt as he went past us.

Can you see him?

The next day, I headed down to the field with my two travel companions (the boss needed some time alone, apparently, so I got two helpers : )  We had to do a transect this week, which is just ten holes in a row across the same polygon, or similar area, so I got to go ahead of the boys and flag out the spots where they would dig.  While I was off by myself, I kept hearing strange noises.  Rustling, some high pitched squeaks, stuff like that.  At first I thought it was the guys whistling for me but they weren't that close by.  I just happened to look up at the exact time that .... you guessed it... another bear was standing in the woods looking back at me.  I yelled at him, and he just kept staring, so I decided to blow my "rape whistle," as J calls it, and that scared him off.

After that, I didn't want to stay by myself any longer so I went quickly back to the place where I left the guys and told them about the bear.  They said I probably saw him because I was alone and not making too much noise.  I said it would be crazy if I saw another bear the next day.  That would be impossible, right?

Actually, no, not so impossible.

The next day, I was alone again because I had to finish flagging and describing the opposite end of the transect.  The guys took the GPS so I was on my own trying to remember where I put the flags.  I found the first few pretty easily but the one on the end was over on the other side of a little hill and I couldn't find it.  I was looking all over the place and getting really frustrated when I heard a noise.  I looked up and saw yet another bear (or maybe the same one?) running down the hill toward me.  This time, I was startled and afraid.  More so than I had been the day before.  But when the bear saw me, he stopped, and I yelled at him and he ran away.  At that point, I gave up on looking for the last hole and decided to head back to the truck.

The guys showed up a little bit after I did and I said "I saw another bear."  They thought I was joking, but I was totally 100% serious, of course.  They were both really tired from digging but it was only 4:30 so I wanted to describe another hole.  At first, they were pretty cranky about it, which made me feel bad, because I thought they were mad at me.  So I was pouting a little bit and J told me to cheer up, so maybe they weren't that mad.

For the rest of the week, we pretty much just stuck together so that none of us would have trouble finding the rest of the holes.  And we didn't see any more bears.

The only other thing that happened this week, was Egghead and I ran into a rancher and somehow he got started on the topic of wolves.  There's a program within my organization that tries to keep the wolves from going extinct, and ranchers HATE it. "It's a terrrrible program, just terrible" he said to us.  Egghead asked him what, specifically, he didn't like about the program, and the rancher said, "They sneak in, and they eat yer cattle."  No joke, dude.  But the program doesn't do that.  The wolves do.  But when I'm out there, I try not to get into any arguments.  Not worth it.  So we went home, and I was glad for it.  It was a long week.


  • Breeza said:  

    I'm glad you are on the wolves side!

  • Rachel said:  

    Part of me thinks it would be really cool to see a wild bear but ARGH, sounds a bit scary.
    I watched a documentary once about a guy who lived in the Yukon for 50 days or something all alone and he was scared of bears the whole time. We don't have anything dangerous like that in the UK! Wild Boar is about as close as we can get!

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